"Too Good To Be Photographed"

A book exploring an intricate relationship between photography and failure.

Too Good To Be Photographed is a project which explores the various sides of photographic failure. On the one hand, it delves into an inability of photography to accurately replicate vision. On the other, there is a larger cultural issue at focus. It relates to our societal investment in photography to truly depict what we see and endow it with an attribute of “truthfulness”.

The project deals with a special discrepancy: that moment when photography breaks. When the camera collapses as a mechanical-eye, and when the medium fails as a cultural replicator of our looking. In other words, the project presents photography’s B-sides, failures, non-successes, defeats. Which ultimately leads to questions about our desires of what photography should be and should be able to do.

The project results from a series of conversations between curator Paul Paper and over 60 artists over a year’s time. The examples gathered can be broadly distinguished into two categories. First are documented “failures” that happened after the fact, that is, after the viewing of a photograph (a sudden realization that this particular image fails to capture some aesthetic or conceptual qualities of the view, or fails to reconnect to the memory of this specific moment, etc). The second group explores the conceptual limitations inherent in the camera and its ability to document.

Paperback, 658 pages
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